Aetna's Operating Earnings Fall 60% - TheStreet

Aetna's Operating Earnings Fall 60%

Aetna said fourth-quarter operating earnings fell on lower commercial underwriting margins and lower earnings in its group insurance business.
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HARTFORD, Conn. (

TheStreet

) --

Aetna

(AET)

, the health insurance company, said fourth-quarter operating earnings fell on lower commercial underwriting margins and lower earnings in its group insurance business.

Aetna said fourth-quarter operating earnings were $178.6 million, or 40 cents a share, down 60% from operating earnings a year earlier of $448.3 million, or 96 cents a share.

Net earnings fell 15% to $165.9 million, or 38 cents a share, from $194.7 million, or 42 cents a share, a year earlier.

Aetna said revenue rose 9% to $8.7 billion.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of 42 cents a share on revenue of $8.65 billion.

Aetna projects 2010 operating earnings of $2.55 to $2.65 a share.

Analysts see earnings of $2.83 a share in 2010.

The company said its commercial medical benefit ratio was 85% in the fourth quarter.

-- Reported by Joseph Woelfel in New York.

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